A University of Queensland (Australia)-led study has concluded that future demand for ethanol biofuel could potentially expand sugarcane farming land in Brazil by five million hectares by 2030.
Our study has modelled scenarios forecasting future ethanol demand based on different trajectories for gross domestic product, population growth, fuel prices, blending policies, fleet composition and efficiency gains. A high demand scenario fueled by strong economic and population growth, soaring gasoline prices, and ambitious blending targets could mean that current demand for ethanol in Brazil will be doubled by 2030.
If this scenario occurs, then Brazil will need an additional five million hectares of land for sugarcane crops to meet this high demand.—UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researcher Milton Aurelio Uba de Andrade Junior
Most of the additional sugarcane farms were likely to expand into pasturelands, minimizing impact on native forests, de Andrade Junior said.
The study, published in Energy Policy, was a collaboration between UQ, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA - Austria) and the National Institute for Spatial Research (INPE - Brazil).
Milton Aurelio Uba de Andrade Junior, Hugo Valin, Aline C. Soterroni, Fernando M. Ramos, Anthony Halog (2019) “Exploring future scenarios of ethanol demand in Brazil and their land-use implications,” Energy Policy, Volume 134, 110958 doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2019.110958